Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Ecuador

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Ecuador, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7493023.html [accessed 29 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 2001:15.4%1399
Minimum age for admission to work:151400
Age to which education is compulsory:141401
Free public education:Yes1402*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:117%1403
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:98%1404
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2001:89.8%1405
As of 2003, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:76%1406
Ratified Convention 138:9/19/20001407
Ratified Convention 182:9/19/20001408
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes1409
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2001, 19 percent of boys and 11.7 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Ecuador. The majority of working children were found in the agricultural sector (67.5 percent), followed by services (20.9 percent), manufacturing (9.7 percent) and other sectors (1.9 percent).1410 A large percentage of working children between the ages of 5 and 17 are found in rural areas of the sierra, or highlands, followed by the Amazon and urban coastal areas.1411 In urban areas, children beg on the streets, work in commerce selling candies and newspapers, or provide services as messengers, domestic servants, shoe shiners, garbage collectors and recyclers.1412

The commercial sexual exploitation of children occurs in Ecuador.1413 An ILO report estimates that 5,200 children are engaged in prostitution.1414 Colombian women and girls are trafficked to Ecuador for commercial sexual exploitation. However, most victims are trafficked within the country's borders.1415 According to the U.S. Department of State, Ecuador has been making significant progress in identifying and punishing trafficking.1416

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years and identifies categories of dangerous work that are prohibited for minors.1417 Child labor provisions do not apply to children involved in formative cultural or ancestral practices as long as they are not exposed to physical or psychological harm.1418 The law prohibits adolescents from working more than 6 hours per day or more than 5 days per week.1419 The law also prohibits adolescents from working in mines, garbage dumps, slaughterhouses, and quarries, and from working with hazardous materials or in jobs that could be hazardous to the child's physical or mental health.1420 The Labor Inspectorate and the municipalities oversee labor contracts and work permits for adolescents between 15 and 18 years.1421 The law prescribes sanctions for violations of child labor laws, such as monetary fines and the closing of establishments where child labor occurs.1422

The law specifically calls for children in Ecuador to be protected in the workplace and against economic exploitation. The law also protects minors against trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and the forced use of illegal drugs and alcohol.1423 Trafficking in persons for both sexual exploitation and for non-sexual purposes is prohibited1424 and can carry up to a 35year jail term.1425 The law punishes individuals involved in child prostitution regardless of the victim's consent. The age of consent is 18. The law establishes 6 to 12 years in prison for promoting child sex tourism.1426 The age of compulsory military service is 18 years.1427

The Specialized National Police Unit for Children (DINAPEN) leads actions against trafficking.1428 With USG assistance, Ecuador has increased the number of trafficking law enforcement officials and prosecutors. A specialized 36-member police unit and an 8-member trafficking intelligence unit were created during 2006.1429 The Government has been actively conducting new investigations and prosecutions under the anti-trafficking legislation.1430 During this year, Ecuadorian authorities arrested 41 persons and reported 15 cases of trafficking that reached some stage of prosecution. One trafficker was sentenced to 9 years in prison.1431 Rescued minors returned to their families or were directed to specialized NGOs.1432

In 2006, the Ministry of Labor permanently hired 28 child labor inspectors who are currently operating in 22 provinces.1433 Inspections were conducted in businesses and plantations, resulting in fines for flower and banana plantations, brick makers, and furniture makers.1434 The fines collected will be reinvested, with some of the funds going to education scholarships for the identified children.1435

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Ecuador, through the National Committee for the Progressive Elimination of Child Labor (CONEPTI), oversaw its National Plan for the Progressive Elimination of Child Labor 2003-2006 (PETI Plan).1436 In 2006, CONEPTI was strengthened through the establishment of a Technical Secretariat with the operating capacity to follow up on projects, negotiate agreements, promote awareness, train stakeholders on program goals and make policy decisions regarding inspectors and social controllers.1437

In 2006, the Inter-Institutional Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons approved a National Plan to combat trafficking. The plan lays the framework for combating illegal migration and trafficking, sexual and labor exploitation, prostitution, pornography and other forms of exploitation of women and minors.1438 The government has provided training and resources to combat trafficking, and continued to work with civil society to train officials, raise public awareness, and improve victims' protection.1439

In October 2006, The Ministry of Tourism launched an awareness raising campaign to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children related to tourism. The USD 60,000 campaign will produce posters, billboards and brochures to be distributed and displayed at highways, airports and tourist agencies.1440

The National Institute for Children and Family (INNFA) began efforts to raise awareness on trafficking in persons through radio, television and other initiatives. The government worked with the private sector for distributing anti-trafficking messages at several venues, such as public theaters and local air flights, and through fliers enclosed with bank and credit card statements.1441

The Government of Ecuador supports education programs that contribute to the withdrawal or prevention of children from exploitive labor. INNFA implements several educational programs for working children. One program reintegrates working children and adolescents from the ages of 8 to 15 into the school system to complete the basic education cycle. Another program provides vocational training and alternative recreational activities to working children between 8 and 17 years, as well as raising the awareness of parents on the dangers of exploitive labor. For adolescents 10 to 17 years who have not completed primary schooling and are more than 3 years behind their peers, INNFA offers an accelerated learning program to help them complete the equivalent of basic education.1442

As part of its social protection network, the Social Protection Program (PPS) at the Ministry of Social Welfare provides scholarships for children who left school for economic reasons to reinsert child laborers back into the school system.1443

The Ministry of Labor has implemented a pilot awareness-raising project for the eradication of child labor in the Tarqui Market of the city of Manta. The project provides services to 260 children who were withdrawn and 500 children who were prevented from the worst forms of child labor in the area.1444

A USD 4 million Timebound Program, funded by USDOL and implemented by ILO-IPEC through 2008, complements the government's plan to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the country. This project targets 2,120 children for withdrawal and 2,880 children for prevention from exploitive labor.1445 In addition, the Government of Ecuador participates in a USD 3 million USDOL-funded 4-year program implemented by Catholic Relief Services to combat exploitive child labor through access to quality education. This project targets 619 children for withdrawal and 9,701 children for prevention from work in the banana and cut flower industries.1446 An ongoing USD 4 million USDOL-funded project, initiated in 2005 by World Learning and Development and Self-management (DYA), combats child labor within the indigenous population through the provision of education services. This project targets 2,124 indigenous children for withdrawal and 4,054 indigenous children for prevention from exploitive work in the Sierra, Amazon, and Quito.1447 Ecuador also participates in a USD 2.1 million global SIMPOC project funded by Canada with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC.1448 To address trafficking in persons, including children, the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office and USAID fund six programs in Ecuador with a total cost of nearly USD 1.3 million.1449


1399 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, December 20, 2006.

1400 Government of Ecuador, Código de la Niñez y Adolescencia, N 2002-100, (January 3, 2003), Article 82; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/boletin/documentos/cna.doc.

1401 UNESCO, Education for All – EFA Global Monitoring Report 2007, 2007; available from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001477/147794E.pdf.

1402 U.S. Department of State, "Ecuador," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78890.htm.

1403 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

1404 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

1405 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1406 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

1407 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 20, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declworld.htm.

1408 Ibid.

1409 ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, [online] [cited December 15 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

1410 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1411 ILO-IPEC, INDEC, Mintrabajo e INFFA presentan resultados preliminares de Encuesta Nacional: 38.6% de niños y niñas entre 5 y 17 años trabajan en el area rural de Ecuador, [online] December 2001 – February 2002 [cited January 31, 2007]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/boletin/noticias/vernoticia,36.php.

1412 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ecuador." See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Ecuador, accessed October 16, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

1413 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ecuador." See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Ecuador.

1414 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ecuador," Section 5.

1415 U.S. Department of State, "Ecuador (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

1416 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment, [online] 2006 [cited January 31, 2007]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rpt/78948.htm.

1417 Government of Ecuador, Código de la Niñez y Adolescencia, Articles 81-95.

1418 Ibid., Article 86.

1419 Ibid., Article 84.

1420 Ibid., Article 87.

1421 Ibid., Articles 88-93.

1422 Ibid., Articles 81, 82, 95.

1423 Government of Ecuador, Constitución Política de la República de Ecuador, (1998), Article 50; available from http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/ecuador98.html.

1424 Government of Ecuador, Ley Reformatoria al Codigo Penal que tipifica los delitos de explotacion sexual de los menores de edad, Article 8; available from http://www.congreso.gov.ec/documentos/pro_aprobados/25-330.pdf.

1425 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ecuador." See also U.S. Embassy Official – Quito, E-mail communication to USDOL Official, August 18, 2006.

1426 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ecuador," Section 5.

1427 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Ecuador," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=824. See also Government of Ecuador, Constitución Política de la República de Ecuador, Article 188.

1428 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ecuador." See also U.S. Department of State, "Ecuador," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61726.htm.

1429 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ecuador," Section 5.

1430 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment.

1431 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ecuador."

1432 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ecuador," Section 5.

1433 Embassy of Ecuador, Actions Undertaken by the State of Ecuador to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor, 2006.

1434 Catholic Relief Services, SOY! Project, technical progress report, Quito, September 20, 2006.

1435 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ecuador," Section 6d.

1436 Ministry of Labor and Employment, Plan Nacional para la Prevención y Erradicación Progresiva del Trabajo Infantil en el Ecuador – PETI, Quito, December 26, 2005; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/plan_eti_ecuador.pdf.

1437 Embassy of Ecuador, Actions Undertaken by the State of Ecuador to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor.

1438 ILO-IPEC, TPR, technical progress report, Geneva, September 30, 2006.

1439 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment.

1440 Ministry of Tourism, La explotación sexual en turismo gana una campaña de prevención, [online] 2006 [cited November 17, 2006]; available from http://www.turismo.gov.ec/ministerio/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=156&Itemid=2.

1441 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ecuador."

1442 INNFA, Proyectos, [online] 2006 [cited October 16, 2006]; available from http://www.innfa.org/innfa/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=141&Itemid=148&lang=es.

1443 Ministry of Social Welfare, La Red de Protección y Habilitación Social – Programa de Protección Social, [online] 2006 [cited October 16, 2006]; available from http://www.pps.gov.ec/paginas/pps/redphs.htm.

1444 Embassy of Ecuador, Actions Undertaken by the State of Ecuador to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor.

1445 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Ecuador, Project Document, ECU/03/P50/USA, Geneva, August, 2003.

1446 U.S. Department of Labor, ILAB Technical Cooperation Project Summary: Project SOY! – Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor through Education in Ecuador, 2004.

1447 U.S. Department of Labor, ILAB Technical Cooperation Project Summary: Project Wiñari – Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor through Education in Ecuador, 2005.

1448 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Projects from all Donors except USDOL, November 3, 2006.

1449 U.S. Embassy Official-Quito, E-mail communication to USDOL Official, August 7 2007.

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